Switch branches/tags
Nothing to show
Find file History


Dipti Sonawane

Modular CityScape

Personal project developed during the Digital Fabrication Studio course, 0.2 edition



I plan to make a laser cut cityscape set, built out of modular structures, which could be assembled together to build custom playful cityscapes.

Through this project I hope to explore ideas of an imaginary/illustrative city. The forms draw upon the idea of a city, but don’t represent any particular city. The project aims to explore different kinds of joineries in laser cutting. Other small decorative elements within the landscape could be made using the 3D printing. For example: cars, shrubs, lampposts etc.

The other part of the project is to embed basic electronics using surface mount LEDs and conductive ink. I plan to keep the electronics very minimalistic and it will be as basic as turning on/off of LEDs. These LEDs will be placed inside the buildings. Therefore the buildings should be modular and not be glued (making it easy to replace and modify electronic components inside the buildings).

Here are a few samples of my very early tests of the structures. I created these in the lab so that I can confirm my ideas and plan future sketches. The only part I focused on here was the joinery. The final structures would be more illustrative than these. On Tuesday, I plan to experiment with basic battery-powered electronic circuits and tiny LEDs to test the second half of my project.


Initial test was made on a 3mm MDF. I might also try using translucent or transparent acrylic sheets. The translucency of the acrylic sheet would allow the LED lighting to show through the buildings and might provide a better effect of the city being lit. Another idea would be to etch some parts of the acrylic sheets which gives a frosty texture that might give a different look when the LEDs are lit.

Proposed Size

Size of the cityscape: 14”x14” Sizes of buildings and other elements would vary.


Initial prototypes in Fablab


Working titles:

Intricate city / Imaginary city

My second proposal is very similar to the first one. I want to create an imaginary cityscape using laser cutting process on paper. The idea is explore paper as a medium and create intricately carved structures. Intricately carved paper fascinates me and I want to use my illustration skills on carving the city of my imagination.

Basic electronics will be embedded onto the floorplan or base of the cityscape. This would allow me to glue the structures as well as implement joinery that utilises the flexible nature of paper. LEDs will illuminate the buildings from the base/floorplan. The translucent nature of paper will allow the light to pass through the cut-outs as well as light up the structures from the inside.

Materials: Paper: Slightly thick for making the structures. Need to test different types of papers. Alternatively: Plastic sheet/thin acrylic sheet which can bend (but not necessarily fold) like paper.

Proposed size

Floor plan: 14"x14" Size of the buildings might vary.


Testing basic circuit

I used a light dependent resistor (LDR) to light two LEDs when it's dark and turn them off when it's bright. This is a basic circuit test done today (2.010.2012) in the Fablab.


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.